tv Meet the Press MSNBC December 28, 2009 4:00am-5:00am EST
celebrated, we came close to an attack on an airliner. a 23-year-old nigerian umar farouk abdulmutallab. joining us now live from san francisco on the latest of the investigation is the secretary of homelands security, janet napolitano. let me start by asking you, the suspect allegedly was carrying a compound of petn. it's what richard reed had on him eight years ago. the fact he had the same compound, does it represent a failure of security to detect? >> i think we don't know enough to say one way or the other in that respect. the forensics are still being done. the investigation is still under way.
i think the important point here is that once the incident occurred, everybody acted the way they should. the passengers did and the flight crew did. within an hour, additional measures were institutes not only on the ground in the united states, but abroad and the 128 flights in the air from europe. >> is this suspect a part of al qaeda? >> again, we don't know. there's allegations that have been made public in the criminal complaint, but the fbi has that matter. it's under investigation and we shall see. what we are looking at is literally, how he got on the plane to make sure that the screening procedures were followed and if they were followed, whether they need to be changed. again, making sure that on the ground, the air environment remains a safe environment, which, indeed, it is.
>> let me clarify. is your suspicion based on intelligence and information he's providing, is your suspicion that he is part of al qaeda? >> you know, david, i don't want to speculate on that. again, the fbi has that under investigation. we'll ascertain whether or not he is what he allegedly says he is. but, what we are focused on, again, is screening, making sure that mitigation measures are in place at airports across the country. one thing i would say to the traveling public over the holiday season is they return home is get to the airport earlier because there will be additional measures and to say, we won't do the same thing at every airport. one of the things we try not to be is predictable in this regards. if you see screeners in one airport doing one thing, but not another airport, that's not
because anybody is doing anything wrong, they are following protocols. >> based on what you know so far, in terms of how much and what he had in his possession in terms of explosives. was it sufficient to bring down the plane, had he succeeded? >> i think we are far from knowing that. the forensics as to what he actually had are yet to be complete. stepping back from this case, what it takes to bring down an airliner depends not only on the chemical and amount, but where the person is on the plane, how it's detonated, all sorts of questions on that score. the minute he began setting himself on fire, which is what it looked like, the passengers acted quickly. indeed, it's part of what i keep saying. security is everybody's responsible. the passengers and flight crew deserve our praise.
they went into mode within minutes of the incident occurring in the air. >> the question is whether the system did do everything it should have done. he was on a terror watch list. his father raised concerned about him being radicalized in the embassy in nigeria. he was not on a do not fly list, a separate cataloging of threats. do you think the fact he was on a watch list should have triggered a secondary screening in the airport in the amsterdam? >> this is the way it works. he was on a tide list. there are over 500,000 people on that list. that information was shared throughout the federal family. there's no question on sharing here. there had never been additional information supplied that would move him to a selectee list or the no-fly list. it requires specific credible
derrogatory information. one of the things we will do is go back and look and say maybe, in this day and age, with this kind of environment we have, we should change the protocols. right now, he was on a generic list, if i could use that phrase. we did not have the kind of information that under the current rules would elevate him. >> final question, madam secretary. given this incident, using an airplane as a weapon, yet again, what does it say about the nature of the threat, the terrorists and al qaeda, if that's the case, they pose to the united states? >> well, i think stepping back from this case, what we see is that al qaeda remains a source of threat streams to the world and indeed to the united states.
while this case does not appear specifically connected there, that leadership, that organization, that training, much of it emanates from the afghanistan, pakistan area and indeed, that is why al qaeda and going after al qaeda is such an important part of the president's afghanistan strategy. >> all right, secretary napolitano, i know your time is limited as you are getting back to washington. thank you for joining us. joining us now is robert gibbs from the white house. welcome back to "meet the press." the president is vacationing with his family in hawaii. i know he's been kept abreast of this. what is his priority in terms of what he would like to know and accountability he would like to see as a result of this. >> he's been briefed regularly by national security and staffers in hawaii.
he's been involved in conference calls to and from the situation room. i'd say the two priorities the president has now, first and foremost ensuring the safety of the american people and continuing to do everything we can to make sure it's happening. secondly, he's asked for two different reviews to be conducted. you heard secretary napolitano mention. first, digging into the listing procedures she talked about, figuring out if the information the u.s. government had was used properly, but to go back and listen to the protocols about how it's done. the secretary mentioned in some cases, it's several years old. she mentioned a list of 550,000 people. there's a smaller list of 400,000 people of which the selectee list you mentioned and
the no-fly list are drawn from. they encompass 18,000 people. there's a series of data bases that list people of concern to several agencies across the govern mtd. we want to make sure information sharing is going on. a review to ensure why an individual with the chemical explosive he had on him could get on to an airliner in amsterdam and fly into this kuhn d tri. we need to look forward about what's happened in the past. >> there's obviously an investigation ongoing, but just as after 9/11, president bush's security team had the feel and look of an al qaeda attack. the president's national security team, does it feel the same way here? >> i don't want to get into
classified intelligence matters. i think pretty quickly, the white house determined this was a potential terrorist attack that could have occurred. the president certainly has taken steps in his time in office to reorient priorities. we're drawing down and focusing on pakistan and afghanistan, the place where the attacks of 9/11 originated and where people sit in caves and houses planning more activity using american power in places not just like pakistan, but throughout the world in yemen and somalia and you have seen already leaders from al qaeda and other terrorist organizations in pakistan, yemen and somalia that have been targeted and eliminated. we have increased our capabilities and information sharing. we want to do the same throughout the federal
government. lastly, i think going forward, the president believes strongly this has to be a non-partisan issue. this should not be a tug of war between the two political parties. i hope everyone will resolve in the new year to make protecting our nation non-partisan rather than what happens in washington, divulging into politics. >> is there intelligence or information to indicate it was part of a larger plot? >> i don't want to get into the intelligence except to say this, immediately, security procedures were reviewed as the secretary said. capabilities were strengthened in this country and throughout the world. we added air marshalls to flights in and out of this country. steps were taken to assume and plan for the very worst to prevent anything from happening
in this country. >> robert, let me turn to a couple other matters, the first being health care. the president achieved a major success with health care reform passing the senate this week. now is the tricky task of reconciling the senate bill with the house bill. there are differences. there's a public option, the question of different taxes, the restrictions on abortion. what will the president's priorities be as he approaches the attempt to reconcile this? >> first and foremost, i think the president would tell you, what he sees in each of the bills is, in many cases, virtually identical. the major parts of health care reform he saw as a candidate are close to happening. he thinks the commonality between the two proposals overlaps quite a bit. he'll be involved in house and senate leaders in working through the last remaining details.
as i said earlier, and i think the president believes strongly, health care reform is not a matter of if it's a matter of when. people with insurance won't be discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition. we'll take tough steps to insure insurance companies will provide much needed medical care. i think the american people are on the verge of a very big win in health care reform in the early next year. >> let me try to pin you down on a couple points of dispute. on taxes, the president indicated earlier in the year, he would not demand a surtax on wealthy americans in the house bill. the excise tax on cadillac plans in the senate bill which are more generous health care benefits and union members have, is the president committed to keeping it in the legislation?
>> he's working out fairness. understand, it's not a tax on the worker or individual. it's a tax on an insurance company that provides a plan that quite frankly many deem as far too generous. the best way is to work on eliminated excessive cadillac plan that is people at goldman sachs and big bankers might get. i think the president believes we can work out a solution. what's important in this, david, the bill that the president proposed and the bill he will sign will be paid for and reduce the deficit. two things that haven't been said in this town in quite a long time. >> let me ask you about the economy. there's a focus on getting people back to work here in kentucky like the national average, unemployment's at 10.6%. here in kentucky, state budget short falls that require $800 million plus in spending kutds. in california, it's in the
billions of dollars. there's been a request in california for federal aid. is that something the administration will consider providing help to the cash-strapped states? >> help for cash-strapped states has come in the form of the recovery bill. i hope you ask all your guests today where they are in making sure the cash-strapped states have the resources they need. we provided immediate assistance to ensure that health care was funded in these states and to ensure that fire and police and teachers could remain on the job. that's where we have seen a lot of jobs saved as a result of the recovery act. the president will focus next year like he has this year. we've made tremendous strides and we have a ways to go.
when the president took office, we lost 741,000 jobs. last month, it was wid led down to 1,000 jobs. the president is not going to rest until we see the unemployment rate down and putting people back to work to provide for their families. >> all right. robert gibbs, thank you. happy holidays. >> happy holidays and a happy new year. >> thank you. coming up next, earlier this week, in washington, we sat down for a special discussion. america, the next decade. former house speaker, newt gingrich, deval patrick and andrea mitchell. according to the epa, the air in your home can be two to five times more polluted than the air outside. smoke, germs, viruses, allergens, pet dander, even smelly and potentially harmful voc compounds can actually be floating in the air you're breathing! but now you can clean that air with the incredible
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we are back and joined by the governor of massachusetts, deval patrick, former speaker of the house, newt gingrich, mayor mike bloomberg and andrea mitchell. thank you all for being here. this is a special discussion. a chance to talk about america, the next decade and where the country is, where we are headed. let's talk about where we are right now, which is that this country, because of the obama administration is on the brink of achieving sweeping health care reform. governor patrick, as a governor, what do you think the president achieved here? >> it's very familiar to us. it's very much framed around an experiment we had under way in massachusetts for three years.
97.5% of our population covered with affordable health care. we have to get the cost curve and we started down the path with reform. i think this is huge. i think it reflects it notion that health is a public good and good for us as americans. >> newt gingrich, there's no republican support for this. why not? >> $513 billion in tax increases. $470 billion in medicare cuts. you have a scale of bribery in the senate we have not seen in our lifetime. all special deals in a way the public is appalled by. i suspect every republican running in '10 and' 12 will redo the bill. it doesn't go into effect until' 13 or '14 except for the tax
increase. it's a bad bill, written in a horrible way. the most corrupt legislation i have seen in my lifetime. >> andrea mitchell, the politics of this are fascinating. you have heard from the widow of ted kennedy saying this is a bill he would support. 30 million americans will be covered here, major insurance reforms, yet, there are moderate democrats who know they are going to be in a tough spot politically for supporting the bill during a mid-term election. >> i think the midterms are going to be very, very tough for a lot of democrats. the benefits down the road, the benefits will be 2013, 2014, most of the perceivable benefits. the costs are up front. the white house has to frame this as expansion of coverage, 31 million more americans and eliminating the insurance
burdens. the lack of access to insurance coverage for children with pre-existing conditions. that's what they have to focus on. if you look at the nitty-gritty of the bill, no one can really guarantee the cost benefits. what they have done in the project jegss -- >> the budget office. >> the budget office. all the improvements written into the bill. they have to be worked out in the real words. >> let's talk about the status quo, mayor bloomberg. how much do we spend in health care and what's the result on the other side. the united states spends more than most other countries by a whole lot. $7200 plus per individual, yet the life expectancy is 78. far younger than countries that spend far less per person. >> we are unwilling to ask what
we are getting for our money. both sides of the graph you showed talk about it. we are spending more than we can afford. we will go bankrupt if we keep increasing medical rates the way we have been. the purpose of government is to increase life expectancy and we are not doing that. instead, we talk about other things. i will say, i have given the president a lot of credit for taking on the issue. it's congress writing the legislation. they are not willing to go near the things that will contain costs, immigration reform, tort reform, asking the question of whether or not we can afford certain tests and whether they are cost beneficial. we are not willing to work on preventive things, fighting obesity, smoking or crime in the streets, which is a big influence on life expectancy. >> governor patrick, what are
the hard choices government has to make to reform health care, to really bend the cost curve that's not anticipated in the first ten years of the bill. we are going to cover so many more people which a lot of people think is a responsibility of government. how do we make hard choices? >> i think the mayor is on these already. the chronic illnesses responsible for 70% or 80%. the management of health, not just health insurance. the fee for service, a tradition in the health care system for decades and decades, we pay for the amount of service rather than healthy outcomes and a medical home is, i think, the jargon being used. there are issues around the number of tests. very sensitive choices. individuals and families and expectations we all have about the ability to get any test for
anything and the best hospital in the world at anytime we want. >> here is the great tragedy. the greatest health systems in the united states are cheaper than health care. the mayo clinic and its cost structure or if you go to the lutheran hospital across wisconsin, a similar system, marshville clinic. in the upper midwest, we know how to have better health out comes at lower costs. it's a different approach than fighting over insurance. >> if you want to object to something in the bill, i have asked congressperson after congressperson and not one person can explain what's in the house version. for them to vote on a bill they don't understand, you have to question what kind of government we have. two, when they talk ability bending the curve as the governor said, bending the curve is a yufism for increasing costs
at a slower rate. they are not talking about reducing costs. they are talking about changing it and slowing it down. when you look at where the cost savings is going to be, they are going to cut something out of medicare and medicaid. anybody that runs for office tells you, you don't do that. it's politically explosive. it would be the first time in the history of the world. >> speaker gingrich, your one time nemesis, president clinton says health care reform becomes more popular after it's passed. republicans could face real political trouble ahead. >> i think the more important thing is, the country faces real trouble. the country is going to face deficits it can't sustain, debt it can't fund, an economy that's not competitive. everything will be revisited.
i want to emphasize what the mayor said. it's important. when you write 2,000 page bills, no elected official knows what's in the bill. it's a flawed way of running the country. it's flawed on both parties. the reason you are seeing the tea party movement is people are angry about an irresponsible government imposing change that no elected official can understand. >> let's talk sentiment. we are a few days away from a new year, a new decade. think back, ten years ago, partying like it's 1999, literally, this is what it looked like. the dawn of the new century. you see times square and around the country. we are filled with what is the world going to be like. where is america headed? there was a sense of dread about y2k computer problems. who could imagine 9/11 was
coming in 2001. andrea, here we are on the brink of a new decade. how are we thinking of this new decade? >> i think 9/11 transformed our sense of ourselves. it made us feel vulnerable. we gave up privacy, we don't even know to the extent how much it was invaded by government. you can debate the merits of that. we lost a lot of sense of american possibilities. we were wrapped in a decade of war, two wars. i think, as we proceed and look at the next decade, we have less to spend. we have fewer opportunities, really, abroad and at home and bigger responsibilities. i think that's the sense of limitations that's been imposed upon us. >> governor patrick, here was the cover of "time" magazine talking about the decade past,
the decade from hell and why the next will be better. a decade of broken dreams. is that how you see it? >> no, i'm a kid from welfare on the south side of chicago. look at me now. this country has the most extraordinary record and i think forecast for opportunity for individuals. but, i do think the next decade is, will be and should be a decade of innovation in our economy, in health care as we have been talking about, in energy, in government, for that matter. the wonderful thing, the upside of period of relative scarcity is that we have to think about doing things differently. that's the sort of thing we have been emphasizing in massachusetts. it's making a difference and making stronger foun dagsz. >> one area to talk about is the economy. it's a huge focus now and will be for the coming decade as we talk about the economy and
beyond. mayor bloomberg, are we in recovery? >> the economy turned around, stopped going down and is coming back. it will be a long time before we are where we were three years ago. andrea brought up 9/11. it wauz definie ining moment. immigration and education. education, out there campaigning around the country. p t president says it's number one. arne duncan is working on it. unless we give our young people enough to compete in the global world, we cannot survive. not with the jobs or benefits we want. immigration, we're committing national suicide. after 9/11, we went from reaching out to get the best and
brightest coming here, we do the stupidest things, we give them education, but not green cards. industry is moving. industries of the future. we talk about green. the industries of the future are going overseas. it's almost impossible to get them back. >> the mayor put his finger on something fundamental. we are going to look back at this decade as a decade of self-deception. you could have put up the world trade center that was there new years. the problem is we are beginning to see in ft. hood, in detroit, in denver, new york and five kids in pakistan, this is a much more profound problem than we talked about. look at the bubbles. you had the i.t. bubble at the end of the last decade. the housing bubble in '07, then the wall street. the fourth is going to be government. we have far more government we can afford if we are going to compete in the world market.
>> if this economy is in recovery, andrea, there's the question of where the jobs are and when they are coming back, which is something that dominates 2010, but the decade ahead. what is a jobs picture look like when they return? >> the jobs will not be the same kind of jobs. that links to immigration and education. the kinds of jobs people have to be retrained to. not everyone will be able to be retrained. there are going to be horrible personal tragedies because not everyone is going to be able to adapt. >> governor, jobs. >> our kids in massachusetts scored top in the nation on the national report card. that is about a trajectory of invasion that's gone on for a decade and a half. it has to expand to include the 21st century skills about team
work and cooperation. the things that make a difference in how we compete in a global economy. that's key. >> we are talking about the economy more broadly. the ceo of general electric, the parent of nbc said about the era of business leadership on wall street. this is what he said. >> mayor, bloomberg, has that era ended. is wall street a different place? >> i don't know that it's a different place. we went through another one of these cycles and we keep forgetting we have been through it again and again. we slowly build. it gets corrected over night. we swear never again, then start the same cycle. the markets will work. anybody that thinks they can hold back the markets is making
a mistake. we live in a global world. we cannot write regulation inconsistent with them. things move around. the government talked about education. crime on the streets, education is the tax base. everyone is bashing wall street. that's one of the big revenue generators for new york and new york city. that's how we pay our teachers, our cops and firefighters. if the elected officials in michigan bashed the automobile industry or in california i.t. or texas oil, they would be running on a rail. everybody, it's hard to find anybody that's not saying look, there are excesses. overall, most of the people that work in finance make $70,000 to $80,00 a year. they are hard worker. we want those industries to be here, not overseas. >> tr the economy to the u.s. role in the world from a national security standpoint and
alsz in terms of u.s. power here and how it's projected around the world. i thought this poll was interesting about who people saw the biggest power would be in 20 years from now. look at those numbers. 39% say china. in '95 it was 3 bank account. 37% think it's the united states. speaker gingrich, is america a power in decline? >> no. what the mayor said is exactly where we are. we are at a down cycle based on a variety of mistakes. we are the most self-correcting society in the world. people in america have risen from all sorts of wonderful backgrounds in one lifetime in a way that's almost impossible anywhere else in the world. the next decade is of honest conversation and open decisions on a huge scale. i think we will fix the
entitlements and have small business, where the jobs are. you will see an explosion of breakthroughs in energy. i'm an optimist. it's going to take a very open, very tough minded approach. >> i'm an optimist as well. i think, when you look at what the problems are in china, remember, it was only a year or so ago, we had all those products come frg china that are toxic. they can't do simple things. they can't handle protecting a school build frg a devastating earthquake. they have a lot of problems. the movement is not complete. they have a lot of things they have to fix. i think our system of democracy is that self-correcting system. >> there's another piece that has to be addressed. that's national security, governor. this first decade of the 21st century, defined by terrorism, two wars, and as we move beyond
that, i said it was president bush who wrote chapter one on the war on terror. it will be president obama who writes the second. he's not calling it that. how will this new decade be defined ton war on terrorists that continues on multiple fronts? >> it's vigilance and fear. we have to be candid with each other. not so much so that we turn into an island. it's not who we are. we look out. we have so much to offer the rest of the world. >> is pragmatism right in this threat around the world? >> it assumes you know what the facts are. to be pragmatic is to be in touch with reality. the president has two challenges. the first is iran. it's clear they have been lying
consistently. this is a much deeper crisis than anything that happened in the last decade. the second is the very nature of the threat. we don't have a language that -- i would describe it islamists in large parts of the culture, it's politically incorrect. if i said tell me what distinguished the murderer at ft. hood, the people arised in detroit and the people picked up in pakistan. they weren't world terrorists. they all belong to an irreconcilable islam that wants to destroy our nation. until we can have a conversation, it's hard to design a strategy. the afghanistan argument is like debating the canal in world war ii. nobody laid out the strategy of national security in a world
where iran is going to get nuclear weapons and we have active enemies in a worldwide basis. >> is there an emerging doctrine? >> i think the doctrine of engagement, which he campaigned bore fruit. i'm not going to predict the security council is going to move in an aggressive way. what the treasury is doing on the banking systems through dubai and others, there's more divergence of opinion in iran than a year ago. we have to see whether that regime collapses in and of itself. the speaker is correct. it's the biggest threat we face. the obama doctrine is to be solid militarily, but not aggressive in that sense that we think of the bush doctrine. >> the speaker made a point of carving out, there's a wing of
islam that's anti-american and doesn't have the same values we do. most muslims around the world are god-fearing people like you and me. their religion may be different. we have 250,000 muslims in new york city. they are not anti-american or anti-new york. it is the battle on the battlefield. it's also the battle on the economic field. what's missing here is the discussion, believe it or not, of the environment. it has nuting to do with global warming down the road. today, we are transferring our wealth to countries around the world who don't agree with us and are funding the very terrorists we are sending our men and women out to fight. sometimes, they don't come back or don't come back alive. we can't keep doing it. we have to get energy independence.
regardless of whether you are green or not, we cannot keep funding our enemies. >> this gets to the final area of discussion. politics and leadership. more broadly, in the country. we think about the next decade. governor patrick, what is the mood, politically in this country now. >> sour. angry. everyone here acknowledged that. >> this is the end of the first year of the obama presidency. >> i don't think it's his fault. i think it's got to do with a global economic collapse and the hurt that's caused individuals and families and businesses. the anxiety cost everyone elsz. it's out there. we need leadership that's about the greater good and is about the long term. you know, that get it now, all about, you know, you're on your own, every man and woman for him or herself, that under pinning of that policy for the last
decade run its course and hurt us. that's part of the change. >> the republican party will try to seize on it in 2010, 2012, 2016. where is conservatism moving, then, in concert with the move? >> first of all, i think the president had an enormous opportunity. if you look at his last campaign stop in manassas, virginia, there was an openness, a bipartisanship a trance transparency. a function of secret deals ramming in stimulus in a secret way, bribing senators, going from the audacity of hope to the audacity of raw power. this hannan enormous problem. the republicans face a different challenge. it's what we faced in '94.
they need to be the alternative party, not the opposition party. you can't build, ultimately on bitterness and create a new majority. >> do you fear it's what the republicans are doing now? >> it's so much easier. just yell no. yelling no gets you 25 seats in 2010. having an alternative, like a contract with america gets you 50 or 60 seats. yelling know gets you 48% in the presidential election. an alternative gets you the presidency. it's important for conservatives to understand, people have -- people are genuinely worried and people want leadership that has genuine solutions. >> mayor bloomberg you wrote a prescription in "newsweek" magazine of what he needs to do. what does he have to accomplish?
>> the governor said it's not his fault. he's right, but it is his problem. he's president of the united states. he has to get reelected assuming he wants to run in three years. i assume he will. newt is right, he's not an eisenhower in the sense he pulled both sides together. congress is different because of redistricting. nobody gets challenges from across the aisle. they can't pull together. you have this instant news cycle, everyone has an opinion on everything. don't have time to get the facts or time to analyze. you have the blogs and the fundamentals of the news business. if it bleeds, it bleeds. if it doesn't, get a knife. we've gone from an instant analysis, unwilling to be subtle and make compromises kind of government that's very, very dang rouerou
dangerous. we talked around the table and didn't talk about the ideological issues that are so polarizing congress and keeping them from coming together. we talked about the public wants jobs, the public wants homes, we want education for kids, we want economy in the future. we didn't talk about the value thing that is unfortunately seem to take over the dialogue from the left and the right. >> be more specific, andrea. talking figures like president obama and sarah palin who you spent a lot of the year covering as well. what happens? >> what i noticed when i was out covering sarah palin when she was on the book tour at 4:00 and 5:00 and 6:00 in the morning, on freezing days, people were camped out with their kids, they are so hungry for anyone that can give answers. in this case, she was signing
books. there's anger. i have not seen it since my first campaign. furious at democrats, republicans, the tea party has higher numbers in the last nbc news poll than either traditional party. that's what the news cycle, which you refer to is feeding into. it's what frightens me. the spirit of america is so large and embracing, but there's an angry subtext. it's very, very worrisome. >> part of what we are talking about the anti-establishment. anti-big institution whether wall street or government or education or the media, mainstream media. what does the president do, tazz head of the united states government, again, a leader with so much promise and difficulty.
what does he do now, to lead, to really lead. >> if i may add, he has an unprecedented range of problems to deal with. he has, i think, also, an unprecedented level or capacity. he needs to use the bully pulpit. i think it affects policymaking. i have agreed, surprisingly with a lot of what the speaker had to say today. i will say that the notion of nonpartisanship or bipartisanship goes both ways. we have not seen congress willing, at least as i perceive it from the right to reach out and make compromise or to engage in the discussion. the president has to leave that, no doubt about it. when he extends his hands, others has to reach back. >> we'll leave it there. others has to reach back. >if you think all batteries are the same...
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